Long days and warm nights mean there's no better time than summer to exercise your dog at the beach, but while beaches are great places for your buddy to play, they can also be full of hidden dangers.
While dogs love a day on the beach, it's important that pet owners are aware of any potential risks that could not only spoil a great day out, but result in more serious injuries.
Things to look out for include jellyfish, snakes, ticks, things that can be swallowed and signs of heat stroke.
Be prepared and alert
Take plenty of water, a bowl, towels, sunscreen, (for you and your buddy) and poo bags.
Keep an eye on your best friend - make sure they are always within eyesight (and earshot) so you can catch them before they touch something they shouldn't.
Stings and slithers
Jellyfish stings can cause local pain and swelling, but poisonous jellyfish stings can cause swelling of the head and face, wobbliness, hives, drooling and anaphylactic reactions.
If you notice these signs, you should take your dog to a vet immediately.
Also always be on the lookout for snakes, which like to sunbathe on warm days, particularly on warm rocks.
An inquisitive dog may get bitten, so keep an eye on your four-legged friend and monitor them for signs of a snake bite - lethargy, wobbliness, drooling and vomiting.
Heat stroke is another risk ...
The paralysis tick is found along the eastern coast from Cooktown in Queensland to Lakes Entrance in Victoria, and is also making an appearance in Tasmania.
As the name suggests, this tick causes paralysis starting from the hind legs, then spreading to the front legs.
If you are travelling to these coastal areas in spring/summer, it is recommended that you use appropriate tick protection.
Many dogs are inclined to chew or swallow things like bait or fish hooks, because they smell fishy.
In some cases, this can cause diarrhoea and vomiting.
In more severe cases, the object may need to be surgically removed.
Stick with it
Dogs love to chase and fetch sticks, but like kids running with scissors, it can be fraught.
The stick should small enough for the dog to run with, but big enough to prevent it being swallowed.
If the stick is too big, a missed step could drive it into the dog's mouth causing damage requiring stitches or surgery.
Heat stroke is another risk on warm days, particularly with energetic dogs.
Heat stroke happens when the dog's body temperature gets too high.
This is caused by a combination of hot weather, high-energy activities such as running, and sometimes dehydration.
To reduce the risk of heat stroke, avoid visiting the beach in the hottest part of the day - mornings or late afternoons are best.
Like us, pets are susceptible to skin cancer so make sure to keep your best mate protected with canine sunscreen - this is particularly important for dogs with exposed skin, pink noses or short hair.
Above all, monitor pets at home after a big day out. Be aware of any odd behaviour as your dog could be dehydrated or feeling unwell. Contact your closest vet immediately if you are concerned.